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The Brooklyn Bridge: Brooklyn Paper: Congress members urge Cuomo to fund Sunset Park offshore wind hub

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Congress members Nydia Velázquez and Jerry Nadler urged Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a letter to fund the infrastructure improvements necessary to build an offshore wind plant in Sunset Park.

The request comes as the state seeks to turn ports into wind turbine assembly plants for wind farms located off the country’s eastern shore. 

Sunset Park’s South Brooklyn Marine Terminal — a largely unused 72-acre lot just south of Industry City — is one of 11 ports under consideration for the improvements. If selected, the state will spend $200 million, matched by $200 million from private firms, to upgrade 65 acres of the southern Brooklyn port into a viable port and factory space, where workers will build wind turbines from parts that are manufactured upstate.

The plant’s turbines would be shipped to two energy farms located off of Long Island and Nantucket, which will begin producing 816 megawatts for New York City beginning in 2024, according to the energy company in charge of the proposal, Equinor. 

Sunset Park locals have argued that the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal is the perfect place for the assembly plant because of its industrial history and a local need for well-paying, sustainable jobs. 

“It is an environmental justice community with three peaker plants, the Gowanus Expressway, two solid waste management plants, and a community that is at risk of extreme and recurrent weather events,” said Elizabeth Yeampierre, the director of the environmentalist group UPROSE. “In an industrial area, we need to be building for climate adaptation, mitigation, and resilience.”

Congress members Velázquez and Nadler, who represent Sunset Park, echoed those calls in their letter, saying that the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal is particularly well-suited for the improvements because of its deep waters and its close proximity to the offshore wind farms.

“The terminal is less than one day’s sail from each of the nine East Coast wind farm development areas designated by the Federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management,” the pair wrote. “The Southwest Brooklyn waterfront in New York City’s Upper Bay has capacity for deep-draft vessels delivering components, and SBMT has more than seventy unencumbered acres for assembly and deployment.”

The plant would also bring thousands of jobs and needed economic renewal to the community, they added. 

“A project at SBMT will be part of the ecosystem of working waterfront we foster in Brooklyn,” wrote the pols.

The state funding, if granted, would add to the $57 million that Mayor Bill de Blasio promised the terminal in his State of the City address earlier this year. The city funds are also going to offshore wind staging, installation, and maintenance efforts. 

The port improvements comes as the state is trying to ramp up its sustainable energy infrastructure in accordance with the 2019 Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), which requires that 70 percent of the state’s electricity come from renewable resources by 2030, and that at least 35 percent of benefits go to the communities most affected by climate change.

To reach its goals, state officials aim to develop 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind energy in the next 15 years, which is enough to power about 6 million homes.

Brooklyn Paper

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